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HomeNewsArchivesRAFFY JACKSON SEES TOURISM AS 'A CHALLENGE'

RAFFY JACKSON SEES TOURISM AS 'A CHALLENGE'

As his third nominee for what is widely regarded as one of the most critical positions in his cabinet, Gov. Charles Turnbull has turned to Rafael Jackson, who worked his way up within the ranks in a 24-year career in the old Division of Tourism before retiring four years ago.
Jackson, reached in San Juan, P.R., Saturday morning, told the Source that coming out of retirement to take on the job "is going to be quite a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it."
Turnbull said Jackson will assume the position of acting commissioner on March 21 and that Monique Sibilly-Hodge will continue in that capacity until then. Sibilly-Hodge's permanent position is assistant commissioner for St. Thomas-St. John.
As to what his top priorities will be, Jackson said, "I'm not in a position to discuss that until I sit down and go into it with the governor."
Jackson, who currently resides in the Fort Myers area on Florida's west coast, said he expects to relocate to St. Thomas "within three weeks." In a meeting with the governor Friday before accepting the nomination, he outlined his ideas "to jump-start the territory's tourism promotion program," according to a Government House release.
The governor said he turned to Jackson because of "his many years of hands-on experience" within Tourism, "as well as his well-rounded knowledge of who's who in the travel industry worldwide," the release stated. Turnbull pledged his support "to making Jackson's leadership of the department a success."
In his resume, Jackson describes himself as having a "working leader" management style, "offering motivation and inspiration to working associates, staff and other sales personnel" and says he is "a firm believer" in the management-by-objective approach. He represents himself as having a "highly developed ability to anticipate and/or identify problem areas" and as being "skilled in finding solutions and developing innovative approaches to old and new problems."
A native of St. Croix, "Raffy" Jackson got into the travel business in 1960 when he joined Caribair as a reservation agent. After four years there and eight years with Farrelly's Travel Services on St. Croix, he joined the old Tourism Division in 1972 as a sales promotion manager in the New York office. He took courses in tourism management and marketing in 1976 and 1977 at the Office of Fellowship and Training in Washington, D.C.; the University of Nebraska, and the University of Wisconsin.
Within Tourism, he subsequently became regional sales manager in the Chicago office, assistant division director for sales and marketing, regional sales manager in the New York office and overall assistant division director. He has been a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, the Interamerican Travel Agents Society, the Society of Incentive Travel Executives and Meeting Professionals International.
After his retirement, he worked for a year as marketing director for Prestige Airways.
His experience has encompassed ticketing and dispatching, leading tour groups, coordinating visits for travel professionals, supervising marketing activities in the mainland and foreign Tourism offices, setting goals and developing long-range plans. His resume noted that "for about one year, after the resignation of Commissioner Auguste Rimpel," he "was directly responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Division of Tourism, including all budgeting and financial matters."
Tourism, which was elevated from a division to a department in the Schneider administration, has been without a commissioner since Turnbull took office nearly 14 months ago. If confirmed, Jackson would become the first Virgin Islander to head Tourism in more than nine years, after Leona Bryant left the position. Gov. Roy Schneider initially named mainland career tourism administrator David Edgell to the post; after Edgell's resignation, Wylie Whisonant, a mainland associate of Edgell's, took over.
Turnbull first nominated Democratic Party stalwart Clement "Cain" Magras, who served in an acting capacity until last summer, when the Senate rejected the nomination in the wake of sexual harassment allegations lodged against the former senator by a female Tourism employee. The governor then nominated local businessman Michael Bornn, who ran the department in an acting capacity until Turnbull withdrew his nomination in October, citing personal incompatibility after Bornn publicly disagreed with him about floating a $300 million bond issue to deal with government debt and meet payroll.
Jackson's nomination must be approved by the 23rd Legislature. Sen. V. Anne Golden, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, which will first consider the nomination, recalled knowing Jackon when he worked in the New York Tourism office under her father, Arnold Golden, at the time he was commissioner of the old Commerce Deparment. She pronounced him "an excellent choice," the Daily News reported.
Dick Doumeng, a retired St. Thomas hotelier active for many years in local and regional tourism organizations, was among those interviewed by the governor for the job — after his name was put forth by the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association.
He said Jackson "certainly has had the experience" within Tourism, if not in the private sector. "Perhaps we pushed the governor in the direction that he at least looked to someone who had experience," he said. "From that standpoint, it's refreshing that we don't have to tell him what a tour operator is, or which airlines serve us."
But Doumeng said it remains to be seen whether Jackson "can motivate us all to participate and have the dialogue we need with the airlines and tour operators and hotel chains."
Doumeng, who met with Turnbull on Feb. 11, said the governor called to tell him of Jackson's selection about five minutes before it was announced to the media. "I had known his decision about a week ago — most of us had," said the retired hotelier. While feeling "relieved that I can go back to the sunset," he said, "I feel good about my willingness to serve. A lot of people were surprised that I would be willing." He said the strengths he would have brought to the job included being a hotel owner, having worked in all phases of the hospitality industry, and being known throughout the Caribbean tourism industry.
Although his meeting with the governor focused on the commissioner position, Doumeng said he offered the governor his services "beyond that."

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As his third nominee for what is widely regarded as one of the most critical positions in his cabinet, Gov. Charles Turnbull has turned to Rafael Jackson, who worked his way up within the ranks in a 24-year career in the old Division of Tourism before retiring four years ago.
Jackson, reached in San Juan, P.R., Saturday morning, told the Source that coming out of retirement to take on the job "is going to be quite a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it."
Turnbull said Jackson will assume the position of acting commissioner on March 21 and that Monique Sibilly-Hodge will continue in that capacity until then. Sibilly-Hodge's permanent position is assistant commissioner for St. Thomas-St. John.
As to what his top priorities will be, Jackson said, "I'm not in a position to discuss that until I sit down and go into it with the governor."
Jackson, who currently resides in the Fort Myers area on Florida's west coast, said he expects to relocate to St. Thomas "within three weeks." In a meeting with the governor Friday before accepting the nomination, he outlined his ideas "to jump-start the territory's tourism promotion program," according to a Government House release.
The governor said he turned to Jackson because of "his many years of hands-on experience" within Tourism, "as well as his well-rounded knowledge of who's who in the travel industry worldwide," the release stated. Turnbull pledged his support "to making Jackson's leadership of the department a success."
In his resume, Jackson describes himself as having a "working leader" management style, "offering motivation and inspiration to working associates, staff and other sales personnel" and says he is "a firm believer" in the management-by-objective approach. He represents himself as having a "highly developed ability to anticipate and/or identify problem areas" and as being "skilled in finding solutions and developing innovative approaches to old and new problems."
A native of St. Croix, "Raffy" Jackson got into the travel business in 1960 when he joined Caribair as a reservation agent. After four years there and eight years with Farrelly's Travel Services on St. Croix, he joined the old Tourism Division in 1972 as a sales promotion manager in the New York office. He took courses in tourism management and marketing in 1976 and 1977 at the Office of Fellowship and Training in Washington, D.C.; the University of Nebraska, and the University of Wisconsin.
Within Tourism, he subsequently became regional sales manager in the Chicago office, assistant division director for sales and marketing, regional sales manager in the New York office and overall assistant division director. He has been a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, the Interamerican Travel Agents Society, the Society of Incentive Travel Executives and Meeting Professionals International.
After his retirement, he worked for a year as marketing director for Prestige Airways.
His experience has encompassed ticketing and dispatching, leading tour groups, coordinating visits for travel professionals, supervising marketing activities in the mainland and foreign Tourism offices, setting goals and developing long-range plans. His resume noted that "for about one year, after the resignation of Commissioner Auguste Rimpel," he "was directly responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Division of Tourism, including all budgeting and financial matters."
Tourism, which was elevated from a division to a department in the Schneider administration, has been without a commissioner since Turnbull took office nearly 14 months ago. If confirmed, Jackson would become the first Virgin Islander to head Tourism in more than nine years, after Leona Bryant left the position. Gov. Roy Schneider initially named mainland career tourism administrator David Edgell to the post; after Edgell's resignation, Wylie Whisonant, a mainland associate of Edgell's, took over.
Turnbull first nominated Democratic Party stalwart Clement "Cain" Magras, who served in an acting capacity until last summer, when the Senate rejected the nomination in the wake of sexual harassment allegations lodged against the former senator by a female Tourism employee. The governor then nominated local businessman Michael Bornn, who ran the department in an acting capacity until Turnbull withdrew his nomination in October, citing personal incompatibility after Bornn publicly disagreed with him about floating a $300 million bond issue to deal with government debt and meet payroll.
Jackson's nomination must be approved by the 23rd Legislature. Sen. V. Anne Golden, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, which will first consider the nomination, recalled knowing Jackon when he worked in the New York Tourism office under her father, Arnold Golden, at the time he was commissioner of the old Commerce Deparment. She pronounced him "an excellent choice," the Daily News reported.
Dick Doumeng, a retired St. Thomas hotelier active for many years in local and regional tourism organizations, was among those interviewed by the governor for the job -- after his name was put forth by the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association.
He said Jackson "certainly has had the experience" within Tourism, if not in the private sector. "Perhaps we pushed the governor in the direction that he at least looked to someone who had experience," he said. "From that standpoint, it's refreshing that we don't have to tell him what a tour operator is, or which airlines serve us."
But Doumeng said it remains to be seen whether Jackson "can motivate us all to participate and have the dialogue we need with the airlines and tour operators and hotel chains."
Doumeng, who met with Turnbull on Feb. 11, said the governor called to tell him of Jackson's selection about five minutes before it was announced to the media. "I had known his decision about a week ago -- most of us had," said the retired hotelier. While feeling "relieved that I can go back to the sunset," he said, "I feel good about my willingness to serve. A lot of people were surprised that I would be willing." He said the strengths he would have brought to the job included being a hotel owner, having worked in all phases of the hospitality industry, and being known throughout the Caribbean tourism industry.
Although his meeting with the governor focused on the commissioner position, Doumeng said he offered the governor his services "beyond that."